THE Anote Tong era will come to an end at the start of 2016, as parliamentary elections in December paves the way for the election of a successor to the I Kiribati leader who has served his maximum 12 years at the helm of his island nation. In an interview with this magazine mid-2015, Tong was keeping close to his chest who his preferred successor shall be.
He would not even answer our questions on whether his long time vice president, former educationalist, Teima Onorio will be his preferred candidate. Writing in our November 2015 edition, I Kiribati journalist Taberannang Korauaba believes Tong’s ruling party will choose from a line-up of 4 possibilities: Vice President Onorio makes the list, but Korauaba seems to think she won’t get Tong’s endorsement.
Her vice presidency has been plagued with controversy, and the fact that she’s a protestant, belongs to a conservative island and remains unmarried may worked against her, the journalist wrote. Other candidates include Tong’s very abled Fisheries Minister Tinian Reiher, backbencher Taberannang Timeon and a son of a respected politician Rimeta Neniamina.